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All Ingredients Should be on the Label – No Excuses

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  1. Woofielover

    Well, there’s the biggest mistake – “depending” upon any manufacturer of anything to provide full disclosure is wishful thinking. Not just in petfood but in any food. The more one learns about the trickery in verbiage (ingredient splitting, renaming ingredients), pictures, graphics, buzzwords and sentence construct that are allowed in what is generally called “marketing”, the more the level of distrust (rightfully) grows. No one polices this properly, well or with the consumers in mind other than consumer advocates. The power of the monied corporations reaches into the government at multiple levels. The most we can hope for is staying up with (not even ahead of) the manipulation and continuing to be informed. It’s exhausting and deflating when you constantly have to fight against your options and their “appearance” of healthiness only to constantly find that you’ve been duped yet again.

  2. Hope

    So, to me, this situation also includes another issue: Natures’s Variety would appear–from their explanations above–not to have a Natures’s Variety representative on site at the cannery when their NV products are being produced. If this is accurate, it means several things. One, errors are made and Natures Variety is not aware. As in the above situation. Two, Natures Variety does not have access to ingredient testing reports that would assure/not assure that the ingredients being used are accurate per their recipe and are top quality increasing the odds of potential problems. And, three, Natures Variety makes more money per product because they abdicate production to their contractor instead of overseeing it themselves on behalf of the consumer. Pet product companies have the option of overseeing production of their products–more expense/less profit– or the option of not being present. I like buying from companies who make their own products in their own manufacturing facilities. It just makes sense.

    1. Reader

      Well actually they didn’t have a quality control stipulation as part of their contract. Each batch should’ve been tested to meet their standards, being reported back to the Company!

  3. Holly Rist

    I work part time for a pet food company. I’ve spoken to dog owners whose dogs have been allergic to peas, carrots, lamb, and other random things. I’ve helped them scour the shelves looking for brands of food that don’t contain those things. Nature’s Variety is doing everything in it’s power to not have to issue a recall. To stay under the radar.

  4. T Allen

    If carrots slipped by than whatever protein got by also. I guarantee you this is very common because the waste of product and time between batches (forget about cleaning the machinery, that will never happen!) would be more than the company would spend on dog food. Cleaning will only get done at the end of the day (assuming they aren’t running shifts). I agree with Hope above and if you have a sensitive dog try and home cook meals. It’s no more expensive then buying overpriced garbage in cans and you’ll save a LOT of money on vet bills.

  5. Bethany

    It’s not just with big pet food manufacturers. I was feeding my cat Primal Pet Food turkey formula for many months. Then one day I noticed a new ingredient on the label: Montmorillonite Clay. This is a controversial and questionable ingredient that I don’t want to feed my cat. When I called the company to find out why they added such an ingredient to their product they told me that it was always in the product, it just wasn’t listed as an ingredient. I was furious! If I can’t trust them to be honest about what’s in their product I will not be buying their product.

    1. Lynn

      Then you better make your own food, I do because I have a very allergic golden girl.

    2. Mrs. Elinor McCullough

      Research montmorilonite clay to learn exactly what it is. It is not bad for humans nor any pets. Given it is in the food one would really want to know how much because too much is not good for human or pet. Both my husband and I (daily) and at least once per month (1/8 tsp/dog) we use a product called Living Clay (montmorilonite clay). It has detox properties but you need to do your research. Montmorilonite clay has been used for centuries and as well health spas use it as a clay mask to remove skin impurities which you can as well do yourself in the comfort of your own home.

      1. Lisa Marie

        But the point Bethany is making is that per her inquiry to Primal re: the addition of what she thought was a new ingredient, that instead montmorillonite clay “was always in the product, it just wasn’t listed as an ingredient” — that is the issue here, not whether MC is beneficial or not.

        If that’s the case, shame on Primal. They signed TAPF’s pledge and I would have expected better from them. I’ve been using Primal on and off for the past several years, it’s one of the few freeze dried foods my cat will eat, I may have to look for something else.

        I guess we have to remember also that per the FDA, manufacturers can add or change an ingredient in their formula and not have to bother to include that change for up to six months, again — shameful.

  6. Leanne S.

    If carrots “carried over” to the next batch, what else did? Chicken, beef, fish? Nature’s Variety is the brand I buy for my kibble-addict cat, but I may have to rethink that now. I thought they were better than this.

    1. landsharkinnc

      none of them are ‘better than’ this — unfortunately – if we feed a meal that is not assembled in our homes, from ingredients we purchase ourselves, we have no idea what we are really feeding!

  7. Julie

    Shame on NV.

  8. grateful

    Bethany, that seems to be a common answer from these companies when questioned about a suddenly appearing ingredient. They just cannot be trusted. Home prepared diet is the only way.

  9. Mirsades

    Oh no!!! I feed my cat Nature’s Variety Grain Free Limited Ingredient Turkey for the same reason. He needs a single ingredient food. He has IBD and has had problems with other cat foods. He’s been on this food now for probably two years. There are times that he will turn his nose up at it and I have to search different pet food stores to find other lot numbers which has been a problem. Both Petsmart and Petco are large buyers and therefore have hundreds or more cases of the same lot number that seems to be causing the problem. I’ve called the company several times over the past two years when this issue comes up. The girl that takes these calls doesn’t seem to know all that much.

    I have asked her if I could purchase a case straight from them since I was having so much trouble finding a lot number/date that doesn’t make him vomit. She told me they didn’t have any pet food there, that it is canned in another state? She didn’t even seem concerned that there might be an issue with the food, nor did she offer to contact the canning plant to report the issue. I guess next time I will have to send an email so it will be in writing AND call too. Maybe ask for a manager, supervisor or the owner. I think it is supposed to be a family run business so next time I will try to speak to the owner and see what happens. I just returned two cases ordered online to Petco because the color didn’t look right when I opened the cans and my cat didn’t want to eat any of it.

    1. Tracie

      Your cat is telling you something when he refuses to eat a certain lot of that food – and I would listen to him. I have the same issue with my cat now where I have to reset her gut by giving her shredded chicken in broth (Applaws – non-supplemented) and we’re going to have to try something else and hope she can tolerate it. It may be time for your cat to segue onto a different food.

  10. Jeannine Lanigan

    I wish I’d never had cats. :0(

    1. KG

      I’m sorry you feel you wish you never had brought cats into your home. I can’t fathom a reason for you to say such a thing.

      My adopted cats have brought immeasurable joy to me and being able to helping stray cats/kittens/animals at my home is another source of joy. I feel blessed these wondrous creatures share my life.

      1. Christine

        It’s also completely irrelevant to this discussion

  11. Reader

    This is an interesting article. And I can understand it from two different perspectives. First, I had a dog that would throw-up within 20 minutes of eating poultry, leading to more serious symptoms. Second, I am gluten-sensitive so a labeling mistake can be VERY serious! I GET the point of the Article. And the importance and responsibility of accuracy!!

    I battled (by phone) with certain Companies who changed their formulas and recipes, but wouldn’t admit the negative effect of the CHANGE. I dropped them! They didn’t care.

    Once the NV error was admitted, the Company would’ve had to pull every case (by Lot no., I agree) from every market where delivered. Remember from Company it goes to Distribution Warehouses (on-line sellers are another complication) and that’s a long queue. There are HUNDREDS of Sellers everywhere. To NV’s credit, they admitted the mistake, seemed appreciative, offered compensation, and were transparent. (We all know WHICH companies wouldn’t even respond)!

    But the EASIEST solution, addressing both the labeling mistake, and yet avoiding outright waste, would’ve been to issue a hardcopy Alert. I’ve seen it done with other grocery products. And I signed up for USDA Recall and Mislabeling Emails. So post the information on the shelf right next to the product. And make sure the Cashiers are trained to advise Buyers at the point of sale! Most dogs aren’t going to be sensitive to carrots. Far worse can actually be a serious mistake. Unless the manufacturer was going to collect all the mistaken food everywhere, and then DONATE it to Rescues, it would’ve been a waste, and an expense the Company would’ve passed on to consumers!

    Somebody once suggested for folks otherwise overwhelmed by all the inconsistencies (and frustrations) out there in the world, which are fact of reality … to pick their “battles” selectively. If it had been a life threatening, or really inconvenient mistake affecting many dogs, then REPORT IT to the FDA and to State Ag Departments. Otherwise, I don’t think it hurts for the PF Companies to see us (Consumers) as being reasonable to a point and practical. The kind of change we actually want, is slow, and isn’t going to be perfected anytime soon.

  12. Casey

    Interesting. I have a foster cat here who is super allergic to certain things. So, we went with NV foods because, according to the label, he should be fine with certain varieties of them.

    Except he isn’t. They make him itch something terrible.

    But if NV is being sloppy with “carry overs”, that would explain it. After all, he cannot have beef or chicken and they use both of those in other foods.

    Thanks a lot NV for using careless manufacturers. Thank God this guy doesn’t have IBD where a flare up could kill him. Wonder how many pets your “carry overs” have actually harmed?

  13. Debi

    Looking to the future and looking “outside of the box”, maybe the new administration will change things for the better, I know that the agriculture dept. has chosen Sonny/Sunny Perdue,( family that owns the natural chicken company), as head of the dept. now, and maybe things will change in the FDA also, I can only hope, I looked at almost all of the dry dog foods yesterday and I am so despondent that there are almost no independent pet food companies left , the ingredients listed were horrific and filled with peas, beans, alfalfa and other crap that I refuse to feed to my dogs, I guess, for me at least, I will continue to make their food and hope that the future will bring change for the better for us and the animals that we love.

    1. Gina

      Yes. I agree – making your own food is the best way to go. I use cooked ground beef or chicken and add a product called U-Stew. I freeze in small containers so I always have it. I can tell you that his coat is better than ever and itchiness is improved. I know raw would be better but he won’t eat it. At least I know what he’s eating.

  14. Susan Mael

    Once Agrolimen (Spanish firm) bought out the remaining interest in Nature’s Variety last year, I and my three consumers have noticed a change in both the regular and LID cat foods. They (NV) claim they are operating independently, but business reality remains – Profits over product quality. Just saying….

  15. Peter

    The issue of undisclosed ingredients is a serious problem for any person who shares his/her life with a dog with food sensitivities.

    This essay not only exposes the cavalier attitude of the parent company, but also serves as an example of the process of “co-packing” that consumers are generally unaware.

  16. Caryn

    Another reason to either go RAW or homecooked for your furry companion. You will know what’s in each batch and each meal that you feed. Don’t rely on a manufacturer to “get it right”. Just my humble opinion.

    1. Pacific Sun

      I feed raw. And home cook. But it’s important to speak up for those who can’t. Not an excuse. Just a reality.

      The point is, we shouldn’t ALLOW manufacturers to assume they can carry on with business (and in this case) a regulation violation, JUST because we’re avoiding the problem! That conclusion may be what manufacturers are coming to believe! Instead, these Articles are vital. As are the consumers who complain to the Company, AND don’t forget, to the Retailer!! They’re the “front line” who will have to back it up to the Distributor!

      After a complaint, if that food is still on the shelf, or spotted somewhere else – REMIND the Retailer to post an “Alert” on the shelf. I’m frightened to think how many don’t even follow this site. Also report it to the right Agency. Sure we can say, “what’s the point?” …. “nothing seems to be getting fixed.” But no problem is EVER going to be solved in a vacuum (a lack of awareness)!!!

      Speak up!

  17. Jane Eagle

    This is one more reason why I keep meeting more and more people who make their pet’s food at home. Word is getting out.

    1. Pacific Sun

      Making food at home isn’t the answer. Holding manufacturers accountable to REGULATION is!!

  18. Lisa Marie

    “The carrots are not a known allergen to dogs and will not cause any illness.”

    Let me tell you something about carrots — Ronni at NV — or any other ingredient that you deem is not a potential allergen to pets. There are dogs and cats that have environmental allergies, e.g., pollens. There are foods that cross react with pollens hence triggering the same symptoms as the pollens which can be very serious.

    I have a six year old male cat who tested high positive for various pollen allergies (and per our vet the environmental panel has a far higher accuracy rate, average 95%, than food allergy panels, roughly 50%). When I found out about foods that cross react with e.g., birch, elm, grass, etc…. (carrots, peas), I asked our vet it the info I was reading about pollens and cross reacting foods was correct, if I should remove those ingredients from my cats’ diet. He said most definitely, that the area of pollen and cross reacting foods was a “whole new science gaining more attention”.

    I now have Mikey on a mostly homemade raw diet and he’s greatly improved.

    My vet also said that when there are food allergies involved, more than likely the pet also has environmental allergies.

    Thank you Susan for posting this. The choices of pet foods one can trust seems to get narrower every day.

    1. Holly Rist

      Thanks so much for the info. I was unaware that some animals who have environmental allergies might also react to carrots and peas.

  19. Trouble

    In addition to a potential allergy issue, peas and carrots, etc. are carbohydrates that turn to sugar and are absolutely unnecessary for cats. These are binders and fillers.

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